As I stated in Part-1, one aspect of Adam’s being a type of Christ is his humanity. As a type of Christ, Adam’s created “perfection” was his authentic humanity. But then…The Fall.
What really happened in The Fall that would require the coming of the Son of God? What changes occurred in man? in Creation? Many volumes have been written on the subject of The Fall and it’s not my purpose here to go into each and every facet of the consequences of The Fall. One thing we can say in general is that the affect of the curse is cosmic in scope—it affects all of Creation. Where there once was harmony and peace in the world (Shalom), now estrangement and death characterizes God’s “very” good creation. Where there was once intimacy between God and man, there is now separation, distance. The entrance of sin brought a curse that affects (or better, perhaps, infects) every aspect of the created order. (For a more detailed treatment of the effect of The Fall see SGCC Sermon Series “Roman Excurses”) One thing we can say in particular is that because of the entrance of sin, the essential nature of man has been damaged—not destroyed, but damaged. Cornelius Plantinga uses the phrase, “The Vandalism of Shalom” to describe the cosmic effect of sin. This phrase is appropriate for the consequences that have come to man—our essential nature as human beings who bear the image of God has been “vandalized”. We still bear the image of our Creator, but that image is marred because we’ve become less than human—the “perfection” of humanity has been damaged. As with the rest of creation, we as human beings, to borrow again from Plantinga, are “not what we’re supposed to be”.
Man was created with a certain design for a certain function—we are “image-bearers”, designed to live as “sons”. We are image-sons—this is our “humanity”. As “image-sons”, we enjoyed intimate communion with our Father in the “heaven” of our Garden-Paradise: God dwelt with His people! And through us, the rest of creation also “enjoyed” intimate communion with its Creator as we faithfully carried out our responsibility as “sons of God”; cultivating Creation (Sacred Space—God’s Dwelling Place) and building the City of God on the earth according to our cultural mandate. Shalom reigned as God’s creation “lived” together in harmony; each aspect of creation “living for” the universal flourishing of the whole in intimate communion with God through His intimate communion with “man” (as man faithfully “cared for” creation as its “steward/ruler”).
This shalom, however, this harmonious “wholeness” of existence within the created order has been broken by The Fall. The curse has brought estrangement to all of the relationships within the created order: God and man (and as a result, God and the created order), man and man, man and himself, man and the created order. Shalom has been “vandalized”. The “life” of harmony, the “universal flourishing” that once characterized God’s “very” good creation has been spoiled. The “death” of estrangement now affects (because it infects) every aspect of creation. Sacred Space (see SGCC Sermon Series “God With Us”) has been lost and is now in need of recovery. Creation needs Recovery! Creation needs Redemption!
As human beings, we no longer live according to our created design and function. We see this clearly when we turn on the television, when we read the newspapers, as we simply look around us…at our jobs, at the grocery store, in the malls, in our own homes, etc., and as we look inside ourselves as we struggle to do what we know is right. What Paul says is true of us in Romans 1 we know innately: we’re “not the way we’re supposed to be”! We’re still “image-bearers”; we’re still “image-sons”. We can’t just relinquish the reality of who we are (a concept that we’ll return to later when we look at the “re-creation” of the New Covenant)—it’s not in our power. But even though we’re still “image-bearers” by creation, this is not what characterizes us because we fail to live into that reality anymore. And this is true because our essential nature has been changed—not destroyed, but damaged or “vandalized” by sin. Sin has entered the equation and so the Bible speaks of our needing a new nature: we must be “Born Again”. For us to once again be truly “human” (or, to be more biblically accurate and precise: For man to finally be fully human), Christ had to come as the True Man to take away sin, reverse the curse and restore God’s “very” good creation. Since Adam and the rest of Creation was only typological and spoke of the state of all things as they will be “summed up in Christ”, only in Christ, then, does man become fully human. Only in so far as the TRUE MAN, Jesus Christ, redeems an individual does that individual become what he/she was created to be. To paraphrase Philip Hughes, man only becomes fully and truly man when joined by the Spirit to the True Man, Jesus Christ. The destiny of humanity is found only in Christ.
Much, much more could be said about this, but my goal is not to write an exhaustive Christology or anthropology; that’s already been done masterfully and without equal by Philip E. Hughes (The True Image: The Origin and Destiny of Man in Christ). My goal is simply to give a general overview in order to help us better understand what has happened to us in Christ. I want us to begin to comprehend the transformation that has taken place in us with the coming of Christ so that we live into the freedom that is our inheritance as “sons of God”. If our mentality as Christians is that our “obedience” is something that we must now do in order to be pleasing to God (or as some would have it, in order to stay in relationship with God) rather than something that we must be (which is the work of the Spirit in us), then I’m afraid that we’ve simply renamed and redesigned the same yoke of the Pharisees that Jesus has freed us from.
Why do we insist on putting the yoke of the Pharisees on again? Because we still don’t fully believe the Gospel. Oh, we believe enough of it to be “saved”, but we effectively deny its power when we separate sanctification from the Gospel, when we live as though our sanctification is a work that we must do. Like the Pharisees, we simply refuse to listen to Moses (and the Law, the Prophets and the Writings) and believe! We don’t believe God, so we put the “yoke” of performance back on our shoulders and we trudge around day after day with our never-ending and never-completed checklists hoping against hope that we’ve done enough to please our Father today. Is this how Christ lived His life? Is this the life of Christ in us? Is this the “freedom” that has been granted to us in Christ?
Next time, Lord-willing, we’ll catch a brief glimpse of what really took place with the coming of Christ. Something really did happen to us (to all of creation) in this redemption that has come in Christ. The Gospel is much more than “fire insurance” or a “life insurance policy”. Among other things we could say about it, the Gospel is transformative! Where there once was “death”, there now is “life”—what is more “transforming” than Life out of Death?! Amen?!